Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

My Aunt Imelda was a source for much of the family history I learned growing up. She was interested in people, and lived in her mother’s old house on Strauss Street in Buffalo. For a time when I was little, she ran my grandmother’s old store that served the neighborhood. I still remember the meat slicer I was not allowed to touch. Even more vividly I remember she had a candy counter with penny candy and a freezer of little ice cream cups.

Imelda Teresa Maciejewska was born 28 Jun 1915 in Buffalo, New York to Antoni Maciejewski and Marya Szczepańska, and was baptized at St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church. She was named by her godmother, Marya Maciejewska, and given the name of a nun. She said that because her name was unusual, she was called Emily, although close friends called her Imelda. Her father’s mother had been born Weronika Lewandowska on 2 Apr 1848 in Niezywienc, Strasburg, Marienwerder, Westpreußen, Preußen, now Nieżywięć, Bobrowo, Brodnica, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland.

Lewandowski is a common Polish name. Wikipedia claims

It is the seventh most common surname in Poland (93,404 people in 2009).

It is derived from the place name Lewandów, itself derived from the Old Polish word lewanda – ‘lavender‘ (lawenda in modern Polish). It is most frequent in mid-northern Poland, making up as much as 1,1% of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship‘s population (the record of Poland). The surname was recorded for the first time in 1673, although Lavendowski, which is probably its variant, is known since 1608.

On 26 Jun 1934, Imelda Maciejewska married Edward J. Lewandowski at St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, New York.

Edward Józef Lewandowski was born in Buffalo 7 Dec 1909, the son of  Wojciech (Adalbert) Lewandowski and Konstancya Kaczanowska. He was baptized at St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church 12 Dec 1909, and his marriage was recorded with the baptism record.

1909 Edward Lewandowski birth record

1909 baptism record, St. Casimir Church, Buffalo, New York

His parents came from Inowrocław and Kościelec in Posen (Poznań in Polish). Today both places are in Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland, about 50 miles from Nieżywięć.

Inowroclaw map

Inowrocław was called Hohensalza in German. It is an industrial city located about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Bydgoszcz. It had several churches, and finding more about Wojciech Lewandowski‘s birth will require more research.

Kościelec was called Rabenburg in German. It is a small village in the administrative district of Gmina Pakość, in Inowrocław County, approximately 4 miles west of Inowrocław.

Kościelec,_Gmina_Pakość,_Inowrocław_County

Kościelec Church of Saint Margaret, originally built in the late 12th century.

The catholic church in Kościelec, named Kościół św. Małgorzaty, after Saint Margaret, had a baptism record for Konstancya Anastazja Kaczanowska. 

1885 Kaczanowska baptisms

1885 Baptism record, Kościół św. Małgorzaty, Kościelec

She was born in Leszczyce on January 8, and baptized on January 9, 1885. Her father, Jan Kaczanowski, was identified as ovilio, Latin for shepherd. Her mother was Franciszka Matuszak. I had originally thought there may have been twins, but only “1” is listed in the column for legitimae puellae, Latin for female child.

Ed Lewandowski

Known ancestors of Edward Lewandowski

I listed people here with their original names, the names their Polish speaking parents gave them. Prussian church records often included Latin or German versions of first names. American records sometimes had Americanized versions of the names. For example, the website “Behind the Name” explains that the name Wojciech is “derived from the Slavic elements voji “soldier” and tekha “solace, comfort, joy”. Saint Wojciech (also known by the Czech form of his name Vojtěch or his adopted name Adalbert) was a Bohemian missionary to Hungary, Poland and Prussia, where he was martyred.” In America, Wojciech Lewandowski often used the name Albert.

Wojciech Lewandowski died 19 February 1930. His death notice was in the Buffalo Polish newspaper Dziennik dla Wszystkich [Everybody’s Daily], 1930-Feb-20. It lists his wife, sons, daughters, daughter-in-law, sons-in-law, and sisters.

1930 Lewandowski Dziennik dla wszystkich = Polish everybody's daily volume (Buffalo, N Y ) 1907-1957, February 20, 193[...]

Updated: 15 June 2019 with ancestor illustration and sources.

Updated: 20 December 2019 with Wojciech Lewandowski death notice.

Sources

  • By Andrzej Wójtowicz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  • LDS Family History Library, “Kościelec (Inowrocław),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed April 2018), Konstancya Anastazja Kaczanowska; citing Germany, Preußen, Posen, Kościelec – Church records.
  • Łukasz Bielecki, “Poznan Project,” database, Poznan Project (http://poznan-project.psnc.pl: accessed 23 November 2018), Joannes Kaczanowski, Francisca Matuszak; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).
  • Łukasz Bielecki, “Poznan Project,” database, Poznan Project (http://poznan-project.psnc.pl: accessed 23 November 2018), Ignatius Kaczanoski, Agatha Maciejczak; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).
  • Wojciech Lewandowski, Dziennik dla Wszystkich [Everybody’s Daily], Buffalo, New York, 1930-Feb-20, https://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83045091/1930-02-20/ed-1/seq-11/

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